Designer Yarmulkas

While in shul this past shabbos, I was spacing out, and my eyes settled on a 10-year-old boy wearing a leather yarmulka (kippa/kipa/kippah, yarmulke, or whatever else you want to call it).  On the leather yarmulka was a picture of the Baltimore Raven’s logo (a raven), with the word “RAVENS.”  While looking at this kid, it began to bother me that a parent would even allow such a yarmulka.  I’ve gotten used to seeing designer yarmulkas (Ravens, Orioles, Nike, Spongebob, Spiderman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and so much more) over the years, so I’m not sure why this hit me now.

The purpose of a yarmulka is to  remind us that Hashem is always above us.  It identifies that we are uniquely Jewish.  Why would we ruin that by putting on a yarmulka with a sports team (never mind the fact that there are probably copyright issues with doing so)?  I understand doing so with young children ages 3 or 4, as we’re trying to get them excited about doing the mitzva.  But even then, a 3-year-old is perfectly happy with a train that has the aleph-bais, which is not only educational, it can help serve the original purpose of the yarmulka.

Like I said above, I’ve seen designer yarmulkas for years, but for some reason, it has only just now started to bother me.


14 Responses to “Designer Yarmulkas”

  1. Peninah Says:

    I am actually going to play Devil’s Advocate on this one. I used to be opposed to these designer Yarumulkas and Tsizis as well, but then one day I realized that it is hard for these boys to wear yarmulkas and tsizis (even at age 8, 9, and 10) and while it would be ideal for them to be able to put them on with no argument or fight it isn’t always easy. So, if we can bring it down to their level and make it an easier mitzvah for them to do, why not? I am 30 and it is hard for me to cover my hair and wear tznius clothes- so obviously it is easier now that they make sheitels actually look nicer and feel more comfortable. I sort of look at that as a parallel.

    BTW, this has nothing to do with what my almost 8 year old son does or doesn’t do- he took the kipah matter into his own hands when he flat out refused to wear anything but velvet (at age 4) and we still haven’t been able to get a suede one or anything else back on him. We are just happy that he happily wears a kipah.

  2. Greg Says:

    People nowadays don’t wear kippot to remind them of God; it’s sociological act of identification with a specific culture. By your logic, you should insist that everyone wear as plain a yarmulka as possible; if one wears a sruga, or suede, or velvet kippa to show that they are associated with some sub-culture of contemporary Orthodox Judaism, they are just the same using it in an ulterior fashion.

    Also, there are SOOOO many other things to get upset about that really make a huge difference in the world. This does not.

  3. AlanLaz Says:

    I agree with Greg and was going to say much of the same, but he beat me to it.

    To me, a kid who wears a kippa proudly and happily is to be praised, regardless of what’s on the Kippa.

  4. Warren Moon Says:

    Ot should also wonder if the creators of the designer yarkmulkas are breaking the law – do they have an arrangement with the company to use their logo? Are they paying royalties? I’m skeptical that they do.

  5. SaraK Says:

    Same story as Peninah. My sister tried putting suede kippot on her almost 5 year old twins (at age 3 1/2) and they refused to wear them. Black velvet all the way. Never mind that their dad wears black knitted. We’re just happy they wear the yarmulkahs.

  6. swfm Says:

    Doesn’t bother me:P

  7. Tim Says:

    I agree with Peninah sometimes you have to put some exsitment in to Yiddshkite so you childern should love to wear kippot and other Yiddish stuff
    I Searched sports kippot and came across

  8. dreamer123 Says:

    i agree with your post 100% – actually have felt the same many a time.
    not in a judgemental manner – more like a “why?”

  9. Gadi Says:

    I agree with OT. Most of the rest of your responses are speaking about little kids. If your kid is 8, 9 or 10, is going to an Observant school, lives in a town with an observant community, and still has “issues” wearing a kippah (like Peninah suggested) then you have a serious issue on your hands and you should probably speak with a Rav or a counselor of some sort.

    A 9 or 10 year old boy should not have to have his kippah represent his favorite television show to make it wearable. Why not paint the parochet of the Aron Kodesh “Orange” during baseball season to show support for the O’s?

    I agree with OT.

  10. BasMelech Says:

    I’m with Aishel on this one.
    While I agree that the design is often a “necessary evil,” and the way in which we do this mitzva often becomes meshed with culture, we do need to keep a focus on the true essence of what we do. It is good to notice these things and not let the kipa become just another logo.

    I also think that even 10-year-olds could use some extra excitement in this. Of course, there is a problem if he refuses to wear a yarmulka without a design, as might be the case with a 3y/o. But if he is wearing a yarmulka anyway, and often it may be a drudge for him, why not indulge a little if it is accepted in his school and community? Let the yarmulka be something special. He is old enough for a simple explanation of the true purpose and I don’t think the design will prevent him from appreciating it in the future.

  11. gishmak Says:

    I definately see your poing on that. It shows a sensitivity u’ve recently acquired

  12. BOTS member Says:

    Would folks care more if it was a 25 yr old man wearing a Raven’s yarmulkah? Or, is it only ok if it’s a child who “doesn’t know better.”

  13. Baruch Who? Says:

    Glad he’s not a NJ Devils fan.

  14. Adam Says:

    It all depends on what team you support……!

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